In June 2017, the British people can vote for a new parliament. This time there is a choice between a pro-austerity conservative government and a more leftist direction with the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. Although Labour has a bad reputation as the party who betrayed British workers, Corbyn’s program is the most leftist one in 30 years. Therefore a vote for Labour would show that working class people reject the austerity regime of the Conservative Party. It would also strengthen Jeremy Corbyn’s position against the Parliamentary Labour Party, the right-wing section!
Revolutionary socialists have not called for a Labour vote in many years. This is because the Labour Party abandoned working class politics in the 1980’s. With the rise of Tony Blair the party moved away from even classic social democratic ideas. Blair as party leader embraced not only neoliberalism but also American imperialism. British social democrats were key supporters of George W. Bush and his Republican Party in the USA. In the last 20 years, the Labour Party embraced austerity rules and the demands of the European Union. This led to massive alienation and disillusion among working class people, who abandoned Labour!
Jeremy Corbyn was one of the last true leftist voices in the Labour Party. He was however always marginalized and stood alone against a apparatus that is still massively right-wing. Also the elected representatives of the party are not friendly to the current Labour leader. Most social democrats in parliament belong to the right-wing or PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party). These politicians are not only pro-capitalist, they are also very corrupt and serve their wealthy donors. There is very little difference between a conservative member of parliament and a social democratic member of parliament. Both are rotten, both are pawns of the rich and both support British capitalism!
With the victory of Corbyn at the leadership elections, a new wave of young leftists joined the party. They hope for a new course under Corbyn. But the old Blair wing is not working along. The right-wing hates the current Labour program and rejects it as ”too leftist”. Although it has some good ideas, the program is still very much classic social democratic and not socialist. It does not call for a socialist Britain were the means of production are nationalized and put under workers self-management. However it does does call for an end to austerity and the re-nationalization of key sectors. Revolutionary socialists support these ideas but we also call for workers self-management, not state control with bureaucrats replacing capitalist bosses. Still the current Labour program is regarded as the most leftist one since the 1980’s!
A big problem for Labour is their trustworthy. 30 years of betrayal and collaboration with capitalist forces has alienated many workers. Right-wing populism grew because of the betrayal by the social democrats. Jeremy Corbyn also failed to provide a socialist exit out of the EU. Instead the Labour leader supported the current neoliberal union and called for Britain to remain inside. This is not what many working class people want, they see the EU as a bureaucratic force that is enforcing right-wing ideas. Many workers are also poisoned with nationalism and blame the EU for the fact that they lost their jobs to cheap workers from eastern Europe. Right-wing nationalists from the United Kingdom Independence Party were successful in dividing the working class among ethnic and religious lines. UKIP is a right-wing party that promotes capitalism and British nationalism, it tries to hide their racism and intolerance under a cloak of populism!
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition decided to support Labour in this election. This is done to give Jeremy Corbyn the best chance to beat the Conservative Party. This does not mean that TUSC will always call for a vote on the social democrats. In city councils were right-wing Labour politicians enforce austerity and cuts to social services, TUSC will put up a fight. The Parliamentary Labour Party is a powerful force and must be destroyed if the Labour Party wishes to become a workers party again. Corbyn must remove all those right-wing scumbags who stand for austerity and collaboration with the establishment. A workers party cannot tolerate pro-capitalist members enforcing viewpoints the party tries to fight against. If the members of the PLP wish to have a pro-capitalist right-wing social democratic party, they are free to leave Labour. But the Labour Party today is no longer their toy to play with. The election and reelection of Corbyn proofs that the party base wish a new direction, a leftist direction!
A big weapon for the conservatives is their support for Brexit. The Conservative Party is far more nationalistic then the Labour Party. In the last local elections, the social democrats were severely beaten. They lost hundreds of councilors, while the conservatives won. The fact that the social democrats support the EU and rejected Brexit made them unpopular. Also we must not forget that many councilors of the Labour Party have carried out austerity cuts in local councils. The TUSC is standing against cuts from both parties. British revolutionary socialists are calling for a Corbyn government with socialist politics. Labour has always called itself a democratic socialist party. It is up to Jeremy Corbyn to carried out a socialist program and to rebuild Britain after years of abuse by right-wing governments!
If all working class people would vote for Corbyn, then he can easily defeat the conservatives. But even among working British, the Conservative Party has won some support by playing on ancient antisocialist lies. They claim that Jeremy Corbyn would destroy the economy by wasteful spending. Like all right-wingers, the conservatives portray themselves as the party of a ”balanced budget” and ”decent government”. The capitalist media is working overtime to portray the Labour leader in a negative light. Tabloids like The Sun portray him as a ”dangerous communist” or a ”crazy Marxist”. We are not surprised that the media is so hostile to the leftist course of the Labour Party. They fear that a Great Britain under Corbyn would not be so loyal to capitalist law and order. The owners of the economy indeed fear a return to a time when the government had the power and authority to regulate the economy. Capitalists of today hate this idea that there will be regulations in place, to protect working class people from their greed!
British workers have a choice to make. If the Conservative Party wins then Britain will become more unequal and the gap between the rich and poor will continue to grow. There is already massive poverty among working class people in London. Recent reports tell that at least 25% (2,5 million people) of the capital can be regarded as poor. Poverty among migrants is high which fuels dangerous thinking. Because radical Islam prays on poor neighborhoods. Small criminals with a Islamic background are now more at risk of becoming radicalized. The attack in Manchester which killed 23 people at a concert was carried out by a petty criminal turned extremist. Religious extremism has grown in the last 10 years. With right-wing politicians stigmatizing Muslims and blaming them for capitalist exploitation, many British with a Islamic believe feel not at home in their own country. In France the neglected neighborhoods of migrants form Africa, are now breeding-grounds for radical Muslims. Ten years ago this was impossible to think. Back then religion was not that strong among young Muslims. This all changed now that the western world is bombing the middle east again by intervening in Iraq, Syria and Libya!
Revolutionary socialists will give critical support to the Labour Party in this election. Jeremy Corbyn must be given the chance to proof himself. Should he win Corbyn must start with a massive purge of all those Labour officials, who carry out politics that harm the working class. Jeremy must also look beyond the limits of social democracy and move towards genuine democratic socialism, meaning a full rejection of capitalist economics. Should Corbyn fail to win he must do his best to turn his party into a workers party. The PLP must be expelled together with all Labour councilors who support austerity. Yes, that would weaken Labour at first. But in the long run, the party would grow as working class people will realize that a socialist: Labour Party is their party. The right-wing social democrats would lose public support and their seats in councils and parliament to true socialists. A new party can and must be build. Young members have proven this by electing Jeremy Corbyn. Revolutionary socialists will work with any Labour member who is willing to build a Britain free from capitalism!